Chennai: Declaring the 44th Chess Olympiad open, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday evening said there were no losers in sports and only winners and future winners.
In his brief address, after declaring the event open and saying “may the game begin” as his concluding remark, Modi said, “in sports, there are no losers. We have winners and future winners”.
Noting that India’s sporting culture is becoming stronger due to the energy of the youth and enabling environment, he said “our talented youngsters from small towns and women bring us glory”.
“In the UK, 22nd Commonwealth Games is beginning too. Thousands of Indians are waiting to live their dreams”, he added, drawing a parallel to the Chess Olympiad.
“For a long time, life came to standstill due to Covid. It was sports that brought us together. We are stronger, better now. The post-Covid period has made us realize the value of physical and mental fitness”, he said.
He told the participants of the Olympiad that they will get the opportunity to explore Chennai, Mahabalipuram, and its nearby areas.
Recalling Tamil Nadu’s strong historical connection with the game of 64 squares, the Prime Minister said ‘Even God played this game of chess in Tamil Nadu.”
Modi cites the temple of Sathuranga Vallabanathar, which has an interesting story that even God played a game of chess.
“The State has a strong historical connection with chess. That’s why the State is the chess powerhouse of India”, he added.
“On behalf of every Indian, I extend my thanks to FIDE for this gesture. This Chess Olympiad is happening in this beautiful city. Sports has always been considered divine in our culture”, Modi said.
Stating that the tournament has the highest number of players in the women’s section this time, the Prime Minister, who began his speech by saying “Vanakkam, Good Evening Chennai, amid a round of applause, said this will be a memory forever.
“This is the first time the Chess Olympiad is being held at its place of origin. It is coming to Asia for the first time in three decades, he noted.
He said the most prestigious event has come back to its home. “It is an honor to have you all here at such an important time for our country. Friends, I would like to applaud the organizers of the tournament. They have made outstanding arrangements”, he added.
Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur also addressed the gathering and encouraged youngsters to take up the game of chess as a hobby as well as professionally.
“There is a feeling of pride in me in seeing India hosting this mega event. Today, we are all set for the tournament. 40 days ago, the torch was handed over to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. I wish all our participants, the highest ever contingent in the chess olympiad, best of luck. Kudos to the entire team of Stalin and FIDE for their untiring efforts for this event,” Thakur said.
“Let me thank you all on behalf of FIDE. We all enjoyed the cultural performance which showed the greatness of Tamil Nadu and its culture. We are grateful to the Tamil Nadu Government and the state. I extend my best wishes to all the players participating in the event,” said FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich.